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Staying home and looking at yourself all day on YouTube

the life of a YouTuber


It sure is an odd way to spend the day, but in a way, it describes exactly what I have found myself doing for the past few months. If creating a YouTube channel is something tempting you or crossing your mind with increased frequency, then lend me your eyes for a few moments as I let you in to the very real world of a novice YouTuber.

Only two videos a week?

Generally, over the weekend I will plan out, in Trello, what my videos will be for the week ahead. That way, as Monday dawns, I can get straight in to content creation.

I currently schedule two videos weekly; Tuesday’s & Friday’s. In time, that may change, but for now, it suits me and is all I can manage. Even when I read that is sounds faintly ridiculous? One video is about 4–6 minutes long and the other around 12–15 minutes. So, given it is a seven-day week, how is it, that I say, this is all I have time for? Read on, and you will find out where my time goes.

The planning

As I said a moment ago, planning starts over the weekend. Often, on a walk, away from the glare of the screen and with a clear head, is when I can think at my best. The formula I’m currently working towards is one tutorial based, or evergreen video, a term I will cover later, and then a longer video which will be audio-based, say on headphones or microphones.

The planning really is where it all happens, for me, at least. I will focus on the tutorial first, as that goes out first, on a Tuesday. Whilst quicker to actually shoot and edit, deciding upon the subject is actually the hardest part here. I want it to be a video that, I think, will be of use, obviously, of good interest, relevant and not repetitive.

As I was learning my way in Adobe Audition, all self-taught, I found myself turning to YouTube for answers. That meant, as I became a creator, I know the kind of content that beginners may be wanting. Importantly, I knew what didn’t work and, hopefully, how best to create something informative, easy to listen to and direct. I say easy to listen to, as I found myself not really wanting to watch the creator in these moments. Rather, I’d want to listen to what he or she was saying as I attempted to muddle through in Adobe and put in to practice what I was learning. That is where the delivery is important. You need a calm, authoritative voice, with someone covering the given subject at a pace you can work along to. Duration is another factor I looked at on these tutorials as well. I would always flick through the thumbnails for both ‘likes’ and duration. Anything over 5 minutes and I would look elsewhere. Why? Well, the kind of content I required in those moments, needed to be quick and to the point. I wanted someone to walk in to my day, often a bad, stressful day too if I couldn’t work something out, and just give me the information I yearned. I didn’t want big characters in this instance, rather, just concise clarity.

As for my other, Friday video, that takes more research. That one is a YouTube video in a more true sense. Informative, and covering a niche area of interest. With this video, I feel the space to give as much information as possible, as the viewers will typically be making purchases based on the information I give them.

To give you an idea, the video I will link to in this blog, took about six hours in research and scripting, and about an hour to shoot. All told, it took over two eight-hour days with editing and all the back room bits and bobs that go on inside YouTube Studio whilst uploading. The two weekly videos will take me from Monday morning until Thursday evening to totally finish. That is by no means a complaint, I am loving it, but if you wonder why I only post the two videos weekly, may be now you can understand. It is not me being lazy…promise!

Get used to looking at yourself

I am stupid….fact, but nobody warned me of this point. As if sitting in a small room, that we all like to glorify in calling a studio, and talking to yourself was not odd enough, that is only the start of it. For the next goodness knows how long, you will then sit, probably in that very same studio, looking and listening to yourself in post.

By the time you see the video, I will know it pretty intimately. I’ll have spent at least three or four hours editing, and I will always watch the final export back once or twice more before finally, finally uploading.

There is little or no vanity in this gig. Sure, when you first see yourself back on YouTube, it is a buzz. Soon after though, it becomes very objective, normally looking for errors and ways to improve, be that lighting, delivery, audio, the set behind me….there is always something that will need a tweak next time around.

Content, content, content

I am a novice at this. I’m more than happy to admit it, too, but what I can offer you from my first five months as a content creator is that you’ll know pretty quickly if you are striking the right content notes.

You’ll notice I have opted for two very different styles of video, intentionally, not accidentally. Earlier I mentioned the term ‘evergreen’. With those, even if I had legions of subscribers, I would not expect these to get many views straight out of the gate. Their very nature is that they will be slow, consistent burners for me. Their content will be relevant for years to come, and hopefully earn me views, view hours and subscribers. The other videos offer a quicker reward and will generally get more views nearer to upload. Get it wrong, though, and your analytics will soon tell you.

Listen to what your audience wants

There is a very fine line between what you want to make as a creator and what your subscribers & viewers will come back for. I would like to make videos I enjoy, but I am also wary of not becoming to self-indulgent.

The video I mentioned I’d be linking at the end of this blog was a prime example. It is something I knew I wanted to make. I had an exact idea of the angle and pitch it should take. But, no one watched it! Yup, I was gutted. It hits hard, but it is all part of the process. I am creating an audience who want to listen to me talk about audio, and even though the Mac helps me create everything on the channel, it’s obvious that is not the content wanted. Will I venture there again? Possibly, but not for a little while. Lesson learned!

Slave to the numbers

If any YouTuber tells you they don’t look at their analytics in YouTube Studio….you should be wary! For some very successful ones, that may be the case, but scaling up here, if someone who is used to getting 150,000 views suddenly tanks and only gets a miserly 80,000 views, it will still sting. I am trying to be all grown-up and not get too hung up on my ratings and numbers. Some days with a better result than others though, I’ll be honest.

The devil in the detail

Just when you think all the hard lifting is done on a video, there is still more to do. The titles, description, tagging, and thumbnails need time and attention. The thumbnail in particular is massively important. That is my advert to the world, and I have mere seconds to grab the potential viewers’ attention in a busy marketplace. I am working hard at learning this skill. Being a graphic designer should help, but this is a whole new skillset. I think I am getting better, but it is another learning curve. The title and tags all work toward the much fabled YouTube algorithm. It is my job to get those right so that YouTube can get me impressions – in other words, put my thumbnail and video in front of people on their what to watch next list.

In it for the long run

I am an impatient soul and a hard-working, passionate one too (or at least I like to think so). Of course, I want more success, both here on Medium and on YouTube. I am more than prepared to put in the hard yards, and have to back myself that the reads and the views will come.

I am hugely happy I decided late last year to change my life around and focus my attention on content creation. Sure, I will need to hope that the financials make some sense, but I must remind myself, I am still very new at this and to give myself time. I’ll be thinking hard as ever this weekend of where next week’s videos will take me, and will approach those videos and my blogs here with as much passion as ever.

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Originally published at https://www.talkingtechandaudio.com/blog on February 10, 2022.

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